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Ranty post as I’m currently working on the 2057-2105 timeline so I thought I’d detail a little about how I come up with the history.

Well first is the goal. This is fairly simple, I know what technologies I want, which planets should really be colonised, and roughly where the political situation is. I also know roughly where each one should occur on the time line, and this is further specified by the level of development I want of the technology/setting. Usually I’ll have put quite a bit of thought into the events leading up to the end point, centring on the politics of the more monumental events, and this helps build a frame work for me to write around.

Anyway, at this point I’ll start writing the timeline proper, and being a very sequential person, I’ll invariably start at the beginning, or at least, where I last left off. The one exception here is where I started at 2025 rather than 2010 as I feel more confident modelling far off events where I’m less likely to be proved wrong any time soon. Specific events sort of come to me, which is a vary unsatisfying explanation, but things just click while I’m writing the piece and so any detail without context would be more or less useless. Also I wrote a few of these quite a long time ago and can’t actually remember ;).

Writing though the dull sections, 2025-2050, 2065-2080 or so, generally force me to come up with events to fill the gaps, and these help flesh out the setting, which is never a bad thing. But the timeline is far more extensive at the monumental points, with only precursory mentions of the in-betweens. Or, at least, they started out as only precursory mentions.

You may notice that the moments on the timeline begin to become more and more detailed as the setting becomes more and more futuristic. This is because the deeper you go into the Vast Worlds setting the further you become embroiled in my world, and so I can speak far more confidently without fear of contradicting reality. In addition, as Vast Worlds is literally a divergent time line, the further down it you go the further I can push the limits of reality, especially as humanity begins to understand the technology it is using a little more.

There is always some fear while writing timelines that I am not being accurate. I know that technically this is ridiculous, as if I could predict the future accurately I would be betting on the horses, not writing a novel, and that the best I can hope for is an approximation based on current attitudes. But, I still want it to be right (which is the same reason I don’t just use an ad hock application of physics that would be so much easier to write) and this persists until I introduce the Derelict and can finally announce that, this isn’t the real world!

Now I have completely forgotten just what it was I was talking about to begin with, something anyone who ever holds still long enough for me to actually verbalise this stuff to will be far too familiar with, which is why I actually write down these timelines. So I actually know what on Earth I am talking about.

Plus it tends to reveal things about the setting I hadn’t realised when I started.

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